Please Note: This Article is 7 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

Adding Hardwood to your property? Don’t forget the subfloor.

Adding hardwood floors to your property can boost its rental or sale value considerably, as well as being a strong lure to potential tenants. One consideration in an installation of this type that is often neglected until it’s too late is the type of subfloor that your property features.

The subfloor is the existing floor in your property. There are many types of different subfloors, including: joists, concrete, wooden floor boards, plywood, chipboard, asphalt and bitumen. Installation methods for solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring differ depending on the type of subfloor.

Before you install any kind of hardwood flooring in your property, ensure that the subfloor is flat, level and dry.

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Joists

If you are laying hardwood flooring directly onto joists then the planks must be at least 18mm thick to ensure enough strength and stability. Either engineered wood flooring or solid wood flooring should be secret nailed or secret screwed directly to the joists.

Concrete or screed

If your subfloor is concrete (a screeded floor) then either engineered wood flooring or solid wood flooring can be used. Solid wood flooring must be glued directly onto the concrete. Engineered wood flooring can be floated over an underlay, without fixing it down, or it can be glued directly onto the concrete.

Wooden floor boards or Plywood

If your subfloor is wooden floor boards or plywood then solid wood flooring must be secured down by either secret nailing or secret screwing, with the flooring planks running perpendicular to the floor boards. Engineered wood flooring can be floated over underlay, or if the flooring planks are 18mm or thicker it can be secret nailed or secret screwed down.

Chipboard

A chipboard subfloor can be treated in a similar way to concrete. Solid wood flooring must be glued directly down to the chipboard. Engineered wood flooring can be floated over an underlay, without fixing it down, or if required, it can be glued directly onto the chipboard. Secret screwing or secret nailing should not be used as it will break the chipboard and the hardwood flooring will not have a secure material to hold on to. This will mean that the hardwood flooring will not be securely fixed in place.

Asphalt

If your subfloor is asphalt, a black smooth compound, which is fairly common for levelling and sealing concrete floors, then a primer must be used before the adhesive will adhere to it. Solid wood flooring must be glued directly down to the asphalt. Engineered wood flooring can be floated over an underlay, without fixing it down, or it can be glued directly down.

Bitumen

Occasionally a concrete subfloor will have bitumen residue, usually from old parquet block floors. If gluing solid wood flooring down then 95% of the bitumen residue should be removed. Engineered wood flooring can be floated over the bitumen.

With these tips in mind you can avoid any costly mistakes that might arise from your existing subfloor whatever it might be made of. Don’t operate under the assumption that just because you can’t see it, it can’t cause you any trouble.

This content was supplied by Chris Elliot of hardwood flooring, providers of quality solid, engineered and laminated wooden flooring as well as a wide range of accessories.

Please Note: This Article is 7 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.
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